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Gross Earnings: Union Bank Records 30% Increase

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Union Bank of Nigeria Plc has announced gross earnings of N147.32 billion for  the group for the financial year ended March 31, 2009, representing an increase of 30 per cent over last year’s figure of N112.99 billion.

In the same vein, gross earnings for the bank increased by 40 per cent from N92.94 billion in the preceding year to N130.19 billion during the period under review. The group’s total assets grew from N1.215 trillion achieved in the preceding year to N1.329 trillion in 2009, while the bank recorded N1.197 trillion from the figure of N993.93 billion recorded in 2008, indicating a growth rate of 21 per cent. Also, group’s deposits rose from N682.31 billion in 2008 to N772.13 billion, while the bank’s deposits increased from N649.33 billion to N758.39 billion in 2009 representing an increase of 17 per cent.

However, the full provision made for bad loans and other non-performing credits in a full swoop impacted negatively on the group’s profitability. The group’s profit before provisions stood at N39.74 billion at the end of 2009 financial year.

The increase in the provision for risk assets to N83.283 billion brought loss before taxation and exceptional items to N43.539 billion, compared to a profit of N33.012 billion in 2008.

The bank’s management, led by Mrs Funke Osibodu as Group Managing Director and Chief Executive, remains very optimistic that Union Bank would again assume its rightful position in the banking industry now that its books have been cleaned up and is poised to exploit the business opportunities arising from the gradual recovery in the global economy.

Mrs Osibodu also stressed the need for the esteemed customers to remain steadfast with the bank and increase their patronage, as the bank was being repositioned to them, thereby guaranteeing better value for shareholders in the years ahead.

The management of Union Bank has restructured its operation with a view to enabling it render world class services to customers globally.

Mrs Funke Osibodu, on assumption of office, had embarked on surprise visits to various branches of the bank across the country with a view of assessing the quality and map out strategy to improve the situation.

Although, two months after the visitations, many customers have attested to good transformations in customer services at Union Bank branches in terms of timely services, personal attention by staff, improved banking environment, facilities and information technology infrastructure.

Mrs Osibodu said the business process and infrastructure upgrade team of the bank has transformed many of the bank’s branches into modern banking offices with ambience such as the Davies  Street branch, Tinubu branch, Victoria Island branch, Foreshore Towers branch and Adeola Odeku branch among numerous owners.

Speaking at the Savings Bonanza Draw of the bank at Owerri, Imo State recently, the managing director encouraged the bank’s customers to spread the good news about the positive changes in the financial institution.

She informed the customers that the new changes in the leadership of Union Bank was intended to make the bank, more “Time tested, bigger, stronger, more more reliable”.

Osibodu pointed out that the changes were introduced to safeguard the interest of the shareholders and more importantly, those of the depositors.

She added that Union Bank is being repositioned to provide excellent services to its highly esteemed customers, thereby guaranteeing better value for stakeholders.

Union Bank was one of the five banks, whose top executives were fired on August 14 by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for presiding over decisions that impaired the finances of the banks. Osibodu took over from the former Group Managing Director, Barth Ebong. The sum of N120 billion was injected into Union Bank from the N420 billion set aside for the five banks by the CBN.

Industry observes applaud the positive changes in the customer services of Union Bank, while acknowledging the fact that given the pedigree of the financial institution it could easily get over its challenges.

Union Bank has recovered substantial portion of its non-performing loans which has buoyed its liquidity. Aside its N1.128 trillion asset base, the bank has a deposit base of over N682 billion from a customer base of 4.82 million, the largest in the industry.

The bank boasts of the world class IT infrastructure, flexcube, which ensures a robust platform for electronic business as well as a rejuvenated workforce with the largest concentration of experienced and qualified  bankers which as at August 2009 stood at 6, 042.

Union Bank has restructured its processes tools, human capital and owner resources with a view to emerging the best in the industry. The acronym project GEAR, simply means G-gross the bank from good to great, E-eclipse the competition, A – aligning the bank’s strategy, people, processes and technology, R-redefine the bank’s position in the industry as leaders in the banking industry. The new managing director and chief executive officer had promised to focus on people management, business development and relationship management, risk management and control, all necessary to leap frog a bank’s core business, above any crisis situation.

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11m Benefitted From $415m World Bank Supported CSDP  – FG

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The Federal Government has disclosed that 11 million Nigerians benefited from $415 million World Bank-supported Community and Social Development Project (CSDP) programme.
Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Hajiya Umar Farouq, disclosed this in an opening address during the close out ceremony of the CSDP programme.
According to Farouq, 11 million direct beneficiaries with an estimated 25 million indirect beneficiaries across 29 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) were reached between 2009 and 2021 when the CSDP programme was being implemented.
She also described the project as highly successful and highlighted sectors the project focused on including health, education, transportation, electrification, community housing, and others.
She said: “The Project became effective in 2009, has had two additional financing, all totaling USD415 million. In its over 11 years of existence, the CSDP has evolved into one of the strong pillars for the implementation of the Social Protection Programmes of the Federal Government under the supervision of my Ministry through the National Social Safety Nets Coordinating Office (NASSCO).
“The CSDP operates with the core principle of Community Driven Development (CDD) Approach.  This is a development paradigm that focuses on the needs of the poor and vulnerable and empowering them with development resources to address their peculiar needs.
“Using this unique approach, the CSDP has implemented micro projects in poor communities across the 543 Local Government Areas of 29 States and the Federal Capital Territory.
“This represents about 70 per cent of the total number of Local Governments in Nigeria.  The poor communities are identified specifically through the use of Poverty Maps agreed to by each participating State and FCT.
“The Project has made substantial impact on improving access of the poor and vulnerable to social and natural resources infrastructure across the benefiting communities.  The total number of beneficiaries of CSDP stands at 11 million direct beneficiaries across the 29 states, with estimated 25 million indirect beneficiaries.
“Specifically, the CSDP has achieved the following: Successful completion of 16,166 micro-projects in 5,664 communities and 934 vulnerable groups.  These micro-projects cut across eight sectors of intervention namely education, health, water, transportation, electrification, socio-economic, environment and community housing; 5,764 classrooms, 1,323 health centres and 4,442 water micro projects were constructed and or rehabilitated.

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Cooking Gas Use Campaign Begins In 12 States

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The Federal Government in collaboration with the Nigerian Energy Support Programme has kicked off the national sensitisation and awareness campaign for the use of Liquefied Petroleum Gas in Nigeria beginning with 12 pilot states.
The states include Sokoto, Katsina, Bauchi, Gombe, Enugu, Ebonyi, Delta, Bayelsa, Lagos, Ogun, Niger and the Federal Capital Territory.
The government said the campaign to ensure increased usage of LPG, popularly called cooking gas, was in line with its ‘Decade of Gas’ initiative, adding that its socioeconomic and health benefits far outweighed the use of kerosene and firewood.
Speaking at the inaugural campaign in Abuja, Tuesday the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, said there was no excuse for Nigeria not to be able to develop its gas sector considering the huge gas reserves in-country.
Osinbajo, who was represented by the Programme Manager, National LPG Expansion Plan, Office of the Vice President, Dayo Adeshina, said the use of LPG would help in cutting down gas flaring in Nigeria.
He said the government was working to ensure that Nigeria achieved the five million metric tons LPG consumption target, adding that efforts were being made to ensure the provision of cylinders at affordable rates to Nigerians.
“Our gas reserves in this country are enormous and we have every reason to develop the gas sector and ensure that our citizens use LPG,” the Vice President said.
He added, “The use of LPG is good for our health and has better socioeconomic benefits and this is in line with the ‘Decade of Gas’ initiative of government.”
Recently, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, said over 120 million Nigerians were experiencing energy poverty despite the huge natural gas resources across the country.
Participants at the awareness campaign also called for adequate penetration of LPG usage in Nigeria, as they pledged to support the government in achieving this target.

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Rail Transport Suffers 38% Decline In Q1 2021 – NBS

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Rail transportation suffered a 38 per cent, year-on-year average decline in passenger and cargo travel in the first quarter of the year 2021 (Q1’21).
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) disclosed this yesterday in its Rail Transport Data for Q1’21, which  showed that passenger travel fell by 34.4 per cent, year-on-year, to 424,460 passengers   in Q1’21 from 647,055 passengers recorded in Q1’2020.
Similarly, cargo travel fell by 43.13 per cent, year-on-year, to 10,511 tons in Q1’21 from 18,484 recorded in Q1 2020.
The NBS stated: The rail transportation data for Q1 2021 reflected that a total of 424,460 passengers travelled via the rail system in Q1 2021 as against 647,055 passenger recorded in Q1 2020 and 134,817 in Q4 2020 representing -34.40 per cent decline year-on-year and +214.84 per cent growth QoQ respectively.
“Similarly, a total of 10,511 tons of volume of goods/cargo travelled via the rail system in Q1 2021 as against 18,484 recorded in Q1 2020 and 35,736 in Q4 2020 representing -43.13 per cent decline year-on-year and -70.59 per cent decline QoQ respectively.
Revenue generated from passengers in Q1 2021 was put at N892,467,526 as against N398,999,290 in Q4 2020. 
Similarly,revenue generated from goods/cargo in Q1 2021 was put at N26.19 million as against N82.57 million in Q4 2020.

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